HC Deb 06 July 1953 vol 517 cc838-9
11. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what progress has been made in his negotiations with Electricité de France for laying a subterranean cross-Channel power cable; and whether he will make a statement.

The Minister of Fuel and Power (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)

Yes, Sir. The scheme being considered involves the laying of three or four electric submarine cables across the Channel capable of transferring a total of 100,000 kilowatts of power at 132,000 volts. Last year I approved a proposal of the British Electricity Authority that they should co-operate with Electricité de France in a programme of experiment and development. This work is progressing well; sample lengths of special cables have been constructed and I am informed that cable laying trials will be carried out this summer.

Mr. Nabarro

In view of the extraordinary success in the war years of Pluto, which is similar in principle, and the fact that a pipeline was then evolved and manufactured in a period of slightly over two years from start to finish, can my right hon. Friend say when a subterranean electricity cable of this kind can be brought into use?

Mr. Lloyd

I well remember the impulse that was given by the Prime Minister to that work at that time. It is different in peace-time, when one has to have co-operation between two nationalised undertakings in different countries, but the work is proceeding very well and I understand that the programme of research and development will be finished next year.

Colonel Clarke

If and when this system is instituted, will it be a two-way traffic by which we may receive electricity or transmit it?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, Sir. That is the essence of the proposal, particularly at peak hours.

Mr. Palmer

Would the Minister not agree that the technical problems involved in this matter are vastly different from those that were involved in Pluto?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, Sir, because the one cable contained petroleum and the other, we hope, will contain electricity.

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